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Tag Archives: Pauline Gefin

July 30th DFA Student Screening!

July 30th turned out another series of exciting, diverse short films from DFA students at New York City’s Anthology Film Archives!

Patricia Olivera and Silvan Friedman in The Dawn.
Patricia Olivera and Silvan Friedman in The Dawn.

First up was The Dawn, a film written and directed by yours truly. Despite his very sheltered point of view, the five-year-old protagonist pieces together the fact that his beloved mother has killed his father. The biggest challenge of making this short was working with such a young child, although hopefully his youth and innocence serve to create that much more of an impact once you realize his life will never be the same.

Ananya Sundararajan
Ananya Sundararajan

Next there was In the Bedroom, a short by Ananya Sudararajan, who also co-wrote and acted as DP for another short film in the line-up, Jam. In the Bedroom was more experimental than the other offerings. The camera remained in one position the entire time: at the foot of the bed of a couple whose relationship is on the rocks. This served to make the viewer feel almost as if they’re spying on a real couple from a hiding place, rather than watching a short film. After the male lead fails to perform in bed, he takes his anger and frustration out on his girlfriend; however, she’s the one who gets the last laugh.

Filmmaker Pauline Gefin (right).
Filmmaker Pauline Gefin (right).

Next up was The Potluck, from frequent screening contributor Pauline Gefin (and Jam’s sound recordist!). In the course of 9 minutes, the audience sees a very strained relationship between three former friends, and how catty two of the girls are toward the third, Victoria. However, when the hostess, Ashley, begins choking, she’ll find out who she can really count on. The short packs a great visual punch at the end, when Ashley puts a photograph of her and Victoria in a place of pride on her shelf.

Kaylyn Scardefield and Joseph Ernest in Jam.
Kaylyn Scardefield and Joseph Ernest in Jam.

Jam, the fourth short, came from Nacho Diaz-Guerra. This piece served to keep viewers guessing as different details were revealed. The three characters meet when young Alice buys back her grandfather’s watch from a pawnbroker and his friend. It’s clear that both Alice and the pawnbroker’s friend, Luke, have strained relationships with their father figures. In Alice’s case, we hear one side of a tense phone call; as for Luke, we witness his older friend’s constant badgering. In the end, Alice and Luke form a bond – and take a small revenge on society.

African masks.
African masks.

The last film of the evening, Thousands: Sonnets of the Sun, was also the longest at close to 29 minutes. This film, from Lucas D. Oliveira, was ambitious not just in terms of length but in subject matter. A true coming-of-age story, viewers were treated to an intimate look inside the mind of a young boy, Tolo, as he struggles to understand nothing less than the meaning of life and his place in it. His father, an African mask carver, has taught him the stories behind the masks, and how masks would be used in special ceremonies where children became adults. Of course, these ceremonies aren’t common in Brooklyn, where Tolo lives – but that doesn’t stop him from exploring their power and doing what he feels he needs to to get to the next level in his life.

Congratulations to everyone who screened! I’m looking forward to what’s next to come from this group of my fellow filmmakers.

By Digital Film Academy Blog Manager Sara McDermott Jain.

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April 16th DFA Student Screening!

April 16th was the most recent screening of DFA students’ work – and the work was spectacular! Not only were the featured shorts diverse, but they displayed a range of skill not always found among new filmmakers.

The night kicked off with the short film Full Circle, written and directed by Pauline Gefin. Based on something that happened to Gefin in New York City, the charming piece details the karmic experience of a girl who helps a hungry man pay for food at a city food cart – and is then later rewarded when another guy pays for her lunch at another food cart and the two share a connection. Gefin’s filmmaking talent was apparent through her skillful shots and natural-feeling edits.

Pauline Gefin (right) talks about her short film and her PSA.
Pauline Gefin (right) talks about her short film and her PSA.

Gefin was also the only filmmaker to show two pieces that evening. The second piece, a PSA promoting literacy, was hilarious. Two days later, Gefin learned the PSA has been accepted to the 60 Seconds or Less Video Festival.

Up next was Daniel Ademinokan’s trailer for his thriller Twisted, also featured at the recent Voice & Rhythm Event. The tense preview gives viewers a glimpse into the life of an immigrant who quickly learns that the U.S., for her, is not a place of freedom. She shares the chillingly memorable line: “The brighter the picture, the darker the negative.” We’re looking forward to seeing the final film!

Next was episode two of the web series Chronicles of a Profiler by Jamaal Green. The web series, which has received quite a bit of buzz in the DFA community, features a former detective trying to escape a troubled past. He suffers from visions of crimes – sometimes before they even happen – and has friends and foes alike turn up to try and force him to confront his demons. Episode one is available for viewing at http://vimeo.com/78569149.

Writer/director Jamaal Green gets his turn in front of the camera!
Writer/director Jamaal Green gets his turn in front of the camera!

Tenzin Kalden shared his short film Zip, about chance connections, snap decisions, and how easily they can change your life. In the film, a young man “saves” a prostitute being physically threatened by her pimp – only to discover that he’s lost her quite a bit of money by doing so. Despite this fact, they’re able to make a connection – only to later suffer a terrible car accident.

Perhaps the most original work of the night was Carina Silva’s Gragon. The trailer had also been shown at the Voice & Rhythm event, but at the DFA screening, viewers were treated to the full short. This fantasy piece was shot entirely with a green screen and Silva filled in amazing special effects details to help tell the story of a Princess who travels to a strange land to battle against an oncoming evil force.

Carina Silva, Gragon filmmaker, being interviewed at the screening.
Carina Silva, Gragon filmmaker, being interviewed at the screening.

The night wrapped up with Football Coach Party by Joseph Leon. Unlike the other shorts, this was a documentary/interview-style piece filmed at the induction of Bill McCartney, the former University of Colorado football coach, into the College Football Hall of Fame. According to Gary Barnett, the assistant coach under McCartney at Colorado, “Mac,” as he’s affectionately known, took the team from being “as far down as possible to the national championship.” Along with Barnett, the piece included interviews with athletic director Rick George and Bill McCartney himself.

Bill McCartney gives a speech at the College Football Hall of Fame.
Bill McCartney gives a speech at the College Football Hall of Fame.

One thing that was noticeable was how students presenting films had also worked on a number of the other shorts being presented – in all different capacities. This not only fosters the sense of ‘family’ among DFA students and grads – something all the filmmakers at the event commented on – but also gives them all ample experience in multiple filmmaking roles before graduation.

Can’t wait to see what these up-and-comers show in the future!

 

By Digital Film Academy Blog Manager Sara McDermott Jain

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